Fiscal Federalism and Social Well–Being in Australia
Australia’s federal system is characterised by both vertical and horizontal financial imbalance. This is overcome by Commonwealth-state transfer payments. The nature of such transfers has changed over time as attempts have been made to redefine fiscal federalism. Currently, the budgetary position of the states, notions of co-operative federalism, and pleas for micro-economic reform are altering the nature of government activity as more and more is left to market forces. Patterns of social well-being are changing and increased inter-regional differences are evident. The current system of transfer payments can cope with this but detailed monitoring of social well-being is needed as is debate over the meaning of equity in the Australian federal system.
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